What is the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)?
As many are new to these devices called the ‘Internet of Medical Things’, here is a little explanation for them. We all know ‘Internet of Things right’? Well, IoMT, is a subbranch of this market. In this part of the market, the focus is on the healthcare industry where technology is growing with the inclusion of AI.
These are the web-enabled devices of healthcare. Yes, of healthcare, medical facility with devices that have internet connections. Such devices that use IoMT are growing rapidly, as these devices can collect and analyze data from the human body 24/7 from any place and send data to the doctors via the web. With this, the patient receives virtual medical assistance at any time and place.
With the help of these medical devices, patient’s real-time data is received by the doctors, which means, the doctors will have more accurate information of their patient’s health when it is disturbed. Here are a few examples of where and how it is being used in the healthcare industry –
Hospitals and clinics – Here, with the help of the IoMT, the quality of services is being improved and at the same time, the cost is being reduced. These devices are operated by the application that monitors patients, its user.
These devices are not just used by hospitals and clinics for recording their health, but IoMT is also widely used for regulating equipment like X-ray machines, MRIs, CT scanners, etc, remotely. This also gives them the advantage of detecting problematic issues with the machine that staff might not be able to notice on time. Companies like Philips and GE use such technology.
IoMT at our homes – Telemedicine gives medical assistance at home through technology so that the patient can receive basic hospital services at home. How? By the Remote Patient Monitoring (RTM) facilities. The RTM devices are movable and can monitor a patient’s heart and glucose level and can alter the medicine immediately when needed, on its own. This facility enables patients who suffer from chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes to avoid frequent hospital visits for check-ups.
Virtual Home Assistants are valuable when it comes to elderly patients. As these devices can interact with them, remind them regarding their medicines also. Their family member and physicians can also be connected to them.
With the advancement in biosensor technology, the wearable smart device monitors its user’s health. These devices are of various types, some can be attached to our body, and some can be implanted, depending upon the need of the patient and the type of the device.
IoMT Technology is the result of Artificial Technology (AI), advanced sensor technology, and internet connectivity technology. The performance of IoMT is mainly sensor-based technology and the deduction in its cost has directly empowered the industry.
The IoMT device works when the sensor detects its user’s body movements, some parts of the body, breathing, blood flow, and even the tissues. After collecting this data, the device sends it to the doctors with the help of the internet connection automatically.
In this procedure, a vast number of protocols are being followed and authorizations are taken. Here the AI software sorts through all the data from IoMT devices and sends it to the doctor accordingly.
Why is IoMT important?
With these capabilities, the importance, and advantages of IoMT devices have increased in the healthcare industry. It saves time by giving all the alarms and warnings in advance.
With this, now doctors can check their patients without visiting them, from anywhere in the world, all the real-time data will be displayed on their smartphones with medical images. This will save many in a medical emergency. It will save the check-up and analysis time, which means quick needed assistance will be given to the patient.
These devices also help patients to make their insurance claim more quickly, as IoMT also provides necessary data to the insurance company, which makes the process faster than before with accuracy.
IoMT devices also reduce the money spent on treatment as they save time, number of hospital visits, and hospital staff needed for the patient. It also enables the patients to check their health data online.
The cost-saving part is also affected by the investment needed for the complete set-up of the infrastructure, the application building, training the people according to these devices, and the more economical development of hardware. This needs a good amount of planning which means time, money, and workforce for its implementation.
So, what are these devices? And who manufactures them? Here are a few examples of IoMT companies and the devices they make –
eVisit is a place where doctors are able to examine and treat their remotely located patients by using this telemedicine platforms. Another company is for cardiac arrhythmia, InfoBionic’s MoMe Kardia provides a facility by which cardiac arrhythmia patients can be monitored remotely.
Abilify MyCite is the company that makes smart pills, yes, smart pills. When the patient swallows the pill, it has a smart sensor that sends a signal to the smartphone’s application. This pill is for treating schizophrenia, it has aripiprazole in it with smart sensors. It is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Amiko.IO is a company that gives a fully AI-powered platform, its products are for the respiratory systems. It is designed to manage respiratory diseases.
There is also a pill that gives imaging data of the stomach, colon, small bowel, and esophagus. When the patient swallows the pill, it provides the visual transmission to the viewer/physician for the analysis. The pill is PillCamTM made by Medtronic.
Conclusion – Internet of Medical Things (IoMT)
IoMT devices are the future of the health care industry with the facility like remote monitoring. This facility allows the patients to not be present physically in the hospital, which means they don’t have to travel far, this will not only save their time and money but will also be more convenient for them.
This will be very helpful for old people or people with disabilities. The feature is that the devices can give alerts in advance to the doctors. For example, information regarding the heart rate will prove to be very vital in an emergency.
The glucose level monitoring for the diabetes patients is very important, with the help of these devices the patient’s glucose levels will be monitored constantly without disturbing them, and the process of checking and maintaining all report records manually will be also eliminated.
This will also record the fluctuation in the glucose levels more accurately and continuously without any problem.
Heart rate monitoring just like glucose monitoring now can be done without anyone’s assistance, with the heart monitoring IoMT device that gives 90 and above percent of accuracy.
The device tracks the 24/7 heart rate of the patients and records all the fluctuations. With this attached device, patients don’t have to be in the hospital and be attached to the wires in one place.
Now there are such devices that monitor hand hygiene. With these devices, the spreading of viruses and bacteria will be eliminated in healthcare facilities. These devices give reminders to the staff to wash and sanitize hands at the workplace.
IoMT devices like ‘Mood Aware’ can monitor their user’s moods and depression. Yes, such IoMT devices also exist, which collects data of their moods continuously.
It understands the mental state on the basis of detecting its user’s blood pressure, and heart rate. Some advanced devices can also track mood data by patient’s eye movements. But these devices do have the challenge of accuracy.
There are more examples of IoMT devices like Parkinson’s disease monitoring, where the patient’s data is collected continuously without them being stuck in the hospitals. They are free to go home. These were the most common types of devices of IoMT.
There are some devices that actually live inside the patients and give them continuous treatment also like the connected inhalers for COPD or for asthma patients.
Where attacks are sudden, these devices collect the data of how frequent these attacks are plus the reasons for the attacks, what triggers them in the environment is also recorded. It also reminds the patients if they forget to keep the inhaler with them.
Also, there are IoMT devices like the Ingestible sensors for the stomach, then connected contact lenses for eyes that not only improve their health but also make them more powerful.
There are robotic surgeries in IoMT, where the small robot performs the surgery, these robots are connected to the internet easily and perform surgery that is difficult for the human hands and they cause fewer damages while performing, which results in faster healing.
These healthcare providers ensure the safety of the collected data, the devices are qualified under the HIPAA or similar regulations. The systems like Order System Control Engine (SCE) provide security for IoMT devices.
These devices also provided very helpful assistance during the COVID-19 phase, when people were not able to step out of their houses, and many hospitals were converted into covid centers for treating only covid patients.
In the lockdown situation, people were not allowed to go outside of their houses, and many facilities were shut. These devices have proved to be helpful in such situations by providing many facilities at home, and by maintaining social distancing.
Even the hospitals were highly overloaded, and a number of doctors were not enough for the demand of time. Hence IoMT has been very helpful for many in these difficult times.